NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Beating the Winter Blues in the Black Rock

This past Saturday, the weather forecast looked like a great day for a hike, even more so because there was a front moving in Saturday night and it was going to get COLD!

In short, it was a great day to get out and Beat the Winter Blues!

So, Saturday morning, my husband and I loaded up our backpacks with water and snacks and headed up to the Selenite Mountains WSA outside of Gerlach.  

It was my first time exploring up there and it was incredible!  We hiked along the ridge line and enjoyed amazing views of the Black Rock Desert including at least five different wilderness areas. 

The wind was blowing (as it mostly does out here) and towards the afternoon, you could see the front moving in as the playa started kicking up a lot of dust. 

We saw super cool eroded rocks, some pretty awesome raptors, hearty plants and much, much more!

It was a great day and made watching the snow on Sunday and Monday that much better.
I mean, check out that view!

So, what are you doing to Beat the Winter Blues this month?
Don’t forget to send NOS your pictures and enter our photo contest for a chance to win some sweet NOS gear.

Have fun out there!

Happy Trails,


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Buckskin Table Mountain Loop

A few years ago, Nevada Outdoor School was approached by our friends and partners at the USDA Forest Service, Humboldt - Toiyabe National Forest, Santa Rosa Ranger District office with a problem happening in the Santa Rosa range.  Humboldt County is the top agriculture producing county in the state and the Santa Rosas have many grazing allotments that the area ranchers pay the Forest Service to graze their cattle on.  Someone was leaving the fencing gates open as they passed through and cattle were getting out.  Off road recreationists and hunters were being blamed and the cattlemen were not happy with the Forest Service’s ability to monitor and prevent the gates from being mismanaged.  


Boyd Hatch of the Santa Rosa Ranger District had an idea, but not much funding to carry it out.  He had seen fabricated steel ATV cattle guards installed at the gate crossings in other western states.  This cattle guard system would allow ATV and OHV users to pass through the gates using the ramp style cattle guard without having to stop to open and close the gates.  The system would allow a quicker and easier OHV ride for recreationists, but would keep the gates managed as the ranchers left them and keep the cattle where they are supposed to be.  The Forest Service had a small amount of funds to purchase a handful of these fabricated cattle guards, but now who had the time and manpower to install them?  And further, just a few cattle guards were not enough to address the problem effectively.  This area of the Santa Rosa Range has many allotments and many gate crossings. 

This is when Nevada Outdoor School and the Santa Rosa Ranger District came up with an idea.  We took a long backcountry ride and a good look at the main problem area on the topographical maps and decided we could develop an ATV/OHV loop road with existing roads and trails with these cattle guards installed at the gate crossings that would allow easy trail riding for recreationists but keep the cattle managed properly.  

As with most bright ideas, came the cloud of reality.  How do we fund this project?  The Forest Service could only help us with the plan, some direction and minimal man power and Nevada Outdoor School didn’t have enough people on staff to do the work.  This is when we got creative in our funding possibilities.  We wrote a grant application to Nevada State Parks Recreational Trails Program to fund the cost of the cattle guards, fencing supplies, a new kiosk to post at the trail head, and a truck and trailer to haul everything.  We wrote a position description to be submitted and approved by the AmeriCorps Nevada National Service Program through Nevada Volunteers and were able to pay for the man power through that grant.  We found the perfect AmeriCorps member and then we got to work with a few volunteers from the Northern Nevada ATV Club.  It took us a couple of years to finish, and of course ongoing maintenance needs to happen to keep the loop trail open and free of overgrowth and debris, but the finished result is something to be proud of and we call it the Buckskin & Table Mountain OHV Loops.  This project is a perfect example of how some creative fundraising requests from some large federal agencies and a small non-profit with a few volunteers from the community can come together to make things happen on our public lands for the better.

The larger Buckskin loop is 27 miles and the smaller Table Mountain loop is about 8 miles of uninterrupted riding.  And the scenery?  My goodness! This is some of the most beautiful and breathtaking backcountry exploring you can do in this state, without the interruption of frequent gate management.  Though I do encourage you to stop frequently and just look around.  The beauty of the area is astounding and the wildflowers cover the mountainsides!  Take several pictures and keep your eyes open for the abundance of wildlife.  I promise, like me, you will want to come back again and again to enjoy the Santa Rosa Mountains whether you are on an ATV, OHV, dirt bike, horseback, hiking or in a pickup.  It’s accessible to all of us.

Happy Trails ~ 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Project AWARE

This past month (January) has been crazy busy with planning and successfully executing an amazing event. Nevada Outdoor School’s AmeriCorps program put together their annual MLK day dodgeball tournament. It went off without a hitch, thanks to everyone that participated. This year was the first year that we (AmeriCorps members) had a silent auction. I personally think that this was a great addition because it not only added revenue to our total profit, it added a different dynamic to the event, it let the spectators get involved. A big thank you to all of the local businesses that donated silent auction items and the members that made this happen.

The AmeriCorps members chose a program that truly benefits all the children in our area. Project AWARE has helped many children and families in our community. This past week was the presentation of the check to The Family Support Center. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we were all thrilled that this was the biggest profit we have raised thus far!

I’m lucky enough to be serving at The Family Support Center, so I can see the direct affects that this donation has and will have on the children that we serve. It’s such an incredible gift to be able to give these children the help and direction that they so desperately deserve but can’t obtain because of money or other circumstances out of their control. 

This is my first year as a member and I can honestly say that I have learned so much that will help me further my education, but not only that, I have been able to participate in programs that I would have never been introduced too otherwise. Being an AmeriCorps member can open doors that you never knew existed. In my case I was just looking for something that would give me experience within my field of study but little did I know it would deepen my passion for helping people. I’m grateful for the experience AmeriCorps and The Family Support Center has given me and I cannot wait to see what the rest of my term has to offer.

Again, I want to thank everyone that participated and donated.